CHICAGO – A group of Chicago business owners is offering two $25,000 rewards to help find the killers of recently slain children.
The group, led by philanthropist Early Walker, started the organization “I’m telling, Don’t Shoot” two weeks ago.
On Sunday morning, they were joined by 16th Ward Ald. Stephanie Coleman to announce two $25,000 rewards to find the killers of 1-year-old Sincere Gaston and 3-year-old Mekhi James.
Gaston was shot along with his mother in a drive-by shooting Saturday afternoon in Englewood, police said. Gaston died after he was transported to St. Bernard Hospital by his mother.
James was shot and killed while riding in a vehicle with his father last Saturday in Austin.
“We have lost ten kids in the last few weeks under the age of 10, something needs to be done and we are putting our money where our mouth is,” Walker said.
Ald. Stephanie Coleman said Gaston deserved to grow up on the South Side of Chicag.
“Crime has no business in the 16th Ward, it has no business in Chicago. This is our community and we refuse to let crime take over the narrative of our community.” she said. “Sincere deserved to grow up in the Englewood I know and love.”
The activists said if the shooter turns themselves in, money will go towards their legal fees.
The tip hotline is 312-747-8380 or you can visit cpdtip.com.
“We have been in contact with the family, this group is going to be paying for the funeral of this young boy as well,” Walker said.
In wake of the George Floyd protests, the group said they are against defunding the police.
“We’re not for that, the alderman was elected on the fact that we need more police presence,” an activist said. “It’s our fault that this is happening, not the police’s fault. This is on us, not the police.”
In addition to their rewards, other community leaders have raised at least $14,000.
On Saturday, activists said they want fathers to put the word in the street to get the killers behind bars.
“Put the word in the street that this is no longer tolerated, we have been able to help individuals turn themselves in, now is the time,” Wallace Gator Bradley said.
Gun violence against children continued Saturday night, when a 10-year-old girl was shot and later died after a stray bullet went through her Logan Square residence.